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UNRWA vows to go on after Israel's call to scrap agency

09 January, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Egypt denies ‘tacit’ acceptance of US Jerusalem move

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

Chris Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said the refugee crisis was being perpetuated by "failure of the parties to deal with the issue".

"Should UNRWA disappear, Israel, the occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza, which is legally charged with the well-being of the civilian population in the territory, would assume greater responsibility for the over 2 million refugees in the territory which UNRWA supports", Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Newsweek. Privately, it understands that US support for both UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority is in Israel's interest because it maintains the status quo and alleviates a financial burden for Israel.

UNRWA has also come under fire on many occasions for spreading anti-Semitic hate in its schools and employing members of terror organizations and supporters of terror. The U.S. later denied the report, saying the funding was still "under review".

That month the agency also announced the suspension of an UNRWA employee suspected of having been elected a Hamas leader.




Earlier, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the weekly cabinet meeting that UNRWA agency should gradually shut down.

He continued, "Israel is sending two messages". For example, Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week that the agency was unable to confirm whether its statistic of 500,000 was a true reflection of the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon when that country's own bureau of statistics cites 175,000 - almost two thirds less than UNRWA's number.

Haaretz said, according to the PNN, that Netanyahu's bureau said, over the weekend, that the prime minister "supports a critical approach by President Trump and believes that practical steps must be taken to change the situation in which UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of resolving it".

A Friday report on Israeli Channel 10 television said the USA had frozen a payment due to UNRWA, but a spokesman for the United Nations organisation said on Saturday that they "have not been informed directly of a formal decision either way by the U.S. administration". "At this time no such decisions have been made".

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